I enjoyed a two-day Boston Interlude with a friend (while hub worked) museum-hopping and enjoying leisurely lunches, activities daily routines do not normally allow time for.
Should you visit Boston, here are some interesting sites to add to your must-see list - especially in cold weather when walking city streets may not be desirable.
We meandered through the Boston Museum of Fine Art’s Colonial rooms, getting acquainting with Colonial garb, furniture, and portraiture, and the museum’s Impressionist art collection. The museum was not crowded; small groups of middle school students comprised the majority of visitors. When our feet demanded a break we ate lunch in the museum’s atrium cafe, lingering over wine and coffee.
Next we walked across the street to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Gardner, a patron of the arts, supported artists including John Singer Sargent, James Whistler, and Henry James. She spent over three decades assembling a huge collection of artwork displayed in her Italian-style villa. We wandered the three floors, leaving only when guards marched us out the door at the end of the day.
Day two began with what was supposed to be a short visit to the Boston Public Library, an architectural treasure and National Historic Landmark. The ‘palace for the people,’ designed by architect Charles Follen Kim, opened in 1895.
The library has a number of ornately decorated rooms. The Abbey Room displays a mural of 15 panels, “The Quest of the Holy Grail,” a medieval tale. We spent a lot of time attempting to decode the story with the help of our smartphones, the Internet, and an extremely knowledgeable tourist (and professor by profession).
The library’s architects commissioned the painter John Singer Sargent to decorate the third floor gallery. Sargent encircled the room with a series of murals depicting the development of religions, the paintings rich with religious imagery and Biblical scenes.
Three hours after entering we exited the library. Sunny skies replaced the cold, dull sky of the previous two days. We walked the couple of blocks to the parking garage to retrieve our vehicle. I will not cite in print the cost of extracting the car - our hubs would yell and scream at us for
being so stupid paying so much money.
But the library was free.
Next stop was a Venezuelan restaurant. Parking a couple of blocks away, we made our way through mostly-shoveled sidewalks to the restaurant only to discover the door locked. Peering through the door, a man came over and greeted us. Because of a lack of business the owner closed for the day, but reopened for us. We enjoyed a delicious lunch, wine and coffee, and shared a decadent chocolate dessert. Meanwhile another customer walked in. It was worthwhile for the restaurant – a small hole-in-the-wall place – to open for us.
The last stop of the day was the Mapparium, a large room surrounded by a glass globe located at the Christian Science Center. Mary Baker Eddy, the religion’s founder, launched the Christian Science Monitor newspaper, which boasted a worldwide readership. Eddy wanted a globe in the Center, reinforcing her religion and her newspaper’s global influence. The map was supposed to be updated as new countries emerged and others disappeared, but the sphere is considered a work of art and has not been changed or updated. The globe displays the world frozen in 1935 time.
A Boston interlude of two days came to an end.
And now back to real life and on to a colder winter wonderland…